Motherhood. Holy fuck….motherhood. Nothing prepares you for it.
Before embarking on the craziest and most emotional trip of my life (aka becoming a mommy), I was always told that having a baby was a beautiful experience, full of glitter, lovey dovey emotions and unicorns shitting rainbows.
Well guess what my friends…it sure isn’t. Not even close.
All of those well meaning people forgot to mention the dark side of growing a tiny human inside of you. The parts that happen WAY more often that people think. The scary parts. The sad parts. The overwhelming parts. The “I am struggling to breathe” parts. The “I can’t do this” parts. The “WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING??” parts.
Post Partum Depression is a different kind of beast. I’ve dealt with Depression and Anxiety in the past. That was undeniable hard, but with help and the right tools, I was able to deal. Post Partum, on the other hand, has been a total clusterfuck.
For a lot of us moms, especially first timers (like myself), expect a LOT of ourselves. We expect to figure this whole taking care of another person thing right away. We expect to have it all together, all the time. We expect that we will always do the “right thing”. We expect to be perfect. Then, when we don’t meet our own crazy expectations, we fall apart. We hate ourselves for it. We think we aren’t cut out for this whole parenting thing.
In my journey, now almost three years in, I still struggle. Some days, I do great. I wake up level headed, I deal with tantrums with ease, and don’t let my little guy push my buttons. We go along our merry way to the park and have a great time.
Other days, I cry. Other days, I hide in the bathroom. Other days, I lose my shit when my toddler doesn’t listen to me and purposefully defies me. Other days, I can’t handle it. I think, “What the fuck was I thinking? I can’t do this! I’m going to fuck up my son. I’m not a mother!” Other days, I ask my mother-in-law, yet again, if the little man can have a sleepover at her house, again.
Then there’s the guilt. OH, the guilt. Guilt around not doing enough. Guilt around not being able to breastfeed. Guilt around not parenting the “right way” (spoiler alert: there isn’t one). Guilt around screaming at your kids. Guilt around asking for help. Guilt around having your kids at grandma’s house too often (in other words, feeling guilty for not parenting 100% of the time). Guilt around letting them watch too much TV. Guilt around not feeding them a perfectly well balanced diet every single day. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
Emotions, guilt, the feeling of “not good enough”, are all, unfortunately, normal. The problem is that not enough people are talking about it. A lot of us feel it is something to be ashamed of, because we aren’t Miss Perfect Parenting Pants, which in reality, is an unattainable dream.
Even when we feel we have all of our shit together, there are still going to be those days. There are still days where we will put Dora on to keep our kids entertained for more than 5 seconds so we can pay the bills before they cut off the power. There will still be times when we are too exhausted to cook dinner, so we hit up the McDonald’s drive thru. There will be days when we get so frustrated we yell at our kids. There will be days when we just need a break, so we ask the grandparents if they can take the kids for a night. And guess what?
It’s OKAY. It is completely acceptable. Nobody is perfect.
We need to accept the fact that parenting is fucking hard. It is the hardest, most frustrating job I have ever had, and probably ever will. It is also the most amazing, beautiful, and heart exploding experience ever. I can’t even explain how intense I feel about my little monkey. Yes, some days he drives me completely bat shit crazy, and other days, he says the sweetest things that my heart melts.
I am taking a stand here. We need to start a conversation where we can be completely honest and vulnerable with each other. We need to stop shaming each other for not parenting the way we think is the “right way”, because there is no fucking right way. Every single child is different, every parent is different, every situation is different. How can there be one perfect step by step method to parent the perfect child? HOW?
We need to start a conversation, but above all, we need to give ourselves a break. Striving for perfection in any area of our lives is just plain crazy, but striving for it in parenting? Insanity. Pure and simple.
Take care of yourself. Ask for help. Vent with a fellow parent. Have a glass of wine now and then. Get over the fact that sometimes you get tired and things don’t go according to plan. Our children will sometimes be cheeky, defiant and tiny little assholes anyway. Stop clutching to your perfect vision of parenting and breathe. Do what works for you, and forget the rest.